Last month, WW published a story about a wave of commercial closures in St. Johns ("Missing Links," Feb. 19, 2020). In the past eight months, nine businesses near the North Portland neighborhood's main strip have shuttered, including Anna Bannanas coffee house, Bernstein's Bagels, 21-year-old Pattie's Home Plate Cafe, and 79-year-old tailoring store the Man's Shop. St. Johns is also experiencing a decline in ethnic diversity and an increase in rents at greater rates than the city as a whole. WW talked to owners of several businesses that closed due to commercial evictions or rent hikes. Here's what our readers had to say:
Dre, via wweek.com: "In the mid-2000s, a business like Anna Bannanas would have been thought of as a sign of gentrification in the area. Now, its closure is viewed as a sign of the changing times and culture in the neighborhood."
Jason, via wweek.com: "Rows of vacant storefronts are not making St. Johns more livable. A lot of the buildings are for sale. They are certainly going to be torn down for new development. Lombard is going to be closed off again this summer, which is bound to drive even more local shops under."
Robin Jennings, via Facebook: "I grew up in Northwest Portland in the 1960s, '70s. By the late '80s, I didn't recognize my neighborhood anymore. Changes aren't permanent, but change is."
Glen, via wweek.com: "We've wondered for years how those places even remained open, so it's definitely not a shocker that they're gone."
Alice Forsythe, via Facebook: "We were occasional customers of Pattie's. Nice comfortable atmosphere with reasonably priced comfort food. Damn shame to lose it."
Joe Longfellow, via Facebook: "How can this be? Portland already ended gentrification when they refused to make Northeast 7th into a greenway."
Firstday, via Twitter: "The landlords are greedy, greedy, greedy, and now we can't have any bagels."
Bill Mikesell, via Facebook: "Pattie's literally stunk like mothballs and was cluttered with crap. They did make a damn good milkshake, though."
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